Friday 19 January 2018

Dublin cut loose but next test will be much tougher

Dublin 2-28 Laois 1-15

Dublin’s Eamon Dillon and Liam Rushe of Dublin compete for a high ball against Cahir Healy and Eric Killeen of Laois. Photo: David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile
Dublin’s Eamon Dillon and Liam Rushe of Dublin compete for a high ball against Cahir Healy and Eric Killeen of Laois. Photo: David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile

Parnell Park

This hammering does nothing for either team. Dublin go into the next round of the qualifiers unsure of their worth, Laois left Parnell Park last night with their season in tatters.

If Dublin are beaten in the next round, and that is what the bookies will say regardless of who they are next paired with, where stand Laois who were hurled off the pitch in the second half last night having failed to do anything with a big breeze behind them in the first period?

Cahir Healy of Laois in action against Eamon Dillon of Dublin during the GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship Round 1 match between Dublin and Laois at Parnell Park in Dublin. Photo by David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile
Cahir Healy of Laois in action against Eamon Dillon of Dublin during the GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship Round 1 match between Dublin and Laois at Parnell Park in Dublin. Photo by David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile

Now it gets interesting for Dublin hurlers. Next Saturday, in the next round of the qualifiers, they must play a team that reached at least the All-Ireland semi-finals last year.

Rest assured it will be a harder task than this. Yet Ger Cunningham's legacy to the stick and ball game in the capital may well be having blooded quite a few of the promising recent underage players.

Fionn ó Riain Broin in defence, midfielder Ben Quinn and Cian O'Sullivan in attack were just three more players with bright futures who got a taste of the championship on the city's northside last night. Of Dublin's more seasoned crew, Eoghan O'Donnell, Chris Crummey and the warhorse that is Ryan O'Dwyer were always hungry for work even as the game died away in the second half.

Man of the match Eamonn Dillon scored 2-5 from play and David Treacy pitched in with 0-9 as Dublin gave themselves some hope of saving their summer.

Cian O'Sullivan of Dublin in action against Cahir Healy of Laois. Photo: Sportsfile
Cian O'Sullivan of Dublin in action against Cahir Healy of Laois. Photo: Sportsfile

With the wind at their backs in the second half, they pulled away from Laois to record a handsome win.

The sliotar was flying 100 metres at times as Dublin backs cleared their lines under no pressure.

And the constant supply of ball falling on the Laois backs finally saw them crack after seven minutes of the second half when Dillon goaled for the first time. From there to the end it was a procession for the Dubs.

The most interesting thing about the announced Dublin team was that Liam Rushe was sited at centre-forward.

Dubs' boss Cunningham had tried the team captain at full-forward when he first took over the team - but soon abandoned the experiment.

Rushe was a successful forward at under-age level. However it was asking a lot of a man who has won All Stars at centre-back and midfield to suddenly reinvent himself as a scorer a decade later.

Laois hadn't got the luxury of shifting an All Star around the pitch. They were without Stephen Maher through injury and Ross King because of suspension.

These were losses the midlanders could ill afford as the game began with Laois making use of a stiff breeze blowing towards the Donnycarney end.

And Laois began well with Paddy Purcell shooting four fine points to ease his team clear. But you wondered about the wisdom of Laois using Cahir Healy as an extra defender. They were going to need a good lead at the break and using seven backs didn't seem a good way of getting it.

Such negative thinking came back to haunt Laois when they went in a point down at the break. Mark Kavanagh had joined Purcell in securing scores for Laois, but Dublin, by contrast, were spreading the love.

They had seven different players on the scoresheet by the break and seemed to have the match well in their control.

Dillon's first green flag cemented that control and the fizz went out of the match with it as Dublin romped away. He got a smashing second late on before Laois goalkeeper Enda Rowland found the net with a free at the death. But the game had been dead long before that.

Scorers - Dublin: E Dillon 2-5; D Treacy 0-9; B Quinn, C O'Sullivan 0-3 each; D Burke, D O'Callaghan 0-2 each; S Barrett, N McMorrow, F Whitley, J Hetherton 0-1 each. Laois: M Kavanagh 0-6; P Purcell 0-5; E Rowland 1-1; M Whelan, C Collier, C Taylor 0-1 each.

Dublin: C Dooley; C O'Callaghan, E O'Donnell, F O Riain Broin; S Moran, C Crummey, S Barrett; B. Quinn, N. McMorrow; D. Burke, L Rushe, E Dillon; C O'Sullivan, R O'Dwyer, D Treacy. Subs: F Whitley for McMorrow (50), D O'Callaghan for O'Sullivan (60), F McGibb for Burke (61), J Hetherton for O'Dwyer and T Connolly for Moran (both 69).

Laois: E Rowland; D Palmer, L Bergin, L Cleere; E Killeen, M Whelan, C Collier; P Purcell, J Kelly; R Mullaney, C Healy, S Downey; M Kavanagh, N Foyle, A Dunphy. Subs: C Taylor for Kelly (h-t), A Corby for Dunphy (53), S Bergin for Downey (57).

Referee: J Keenan (Wicklow)

 

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